Too Many Images.... Portraits
I am not quite sure when the photography bug bit me… but I think I might blame it on my dad. Growing up - yessss, a zillion years ago, we actually had electricity in western Montana. The weekend enjoyment at my house was either; three channels of fuzzy on an old 20 inch TV or the Big Screen and slides.
My dad would dig through the big ol’ box of cartridge after cartridge of slides. Then the gentle hum of the slide projector and the glow of the yellow bulb that, pristinely brought, to larger than life, people and places I knew little of. Then my dad would tell the story of that image and my mom would chime in with her take on it. My eyes would dart from detail to detail and capture it all. Then on to the next and into the evening, those faces from the past.
I consider myself pretty fortunate because photographs were a part of my life without knowing but instilled the love of seeing moments captured. I remember my dad always had his camera dangling, swaying from his shoulder. Those were days when cameras and film were a luxury and images were captured in singles and if your eyes were closed so be it and if you ran too fast why, you didn’t exist at all.
Turn back the clock some more and you find that, as a generality photographs were reserved for special occasions and people with “means” (rich folks). Weddings, births and only of those concerned. Photos were in newspapers and magazines, not the multitudes of today (and really quite interesting that this generation; yours/mine, is the first to have every moment caught by video or still).
T’was a blissful treat when my son and I went to visit the “old town”, my grandparents’ house in northern Germany, to find the albums and images of my grandparents in their golden light, great cousins and moments relegated to these precious black and white treasures. My grandparents took pictures of everyday life, their farm, the dogs they had, antics of my dad and aunt as children. Pictures of soldiers, vacation and adventures. Pictures of a blurry Statue of Liberty and lunch at the base of the Eifel tower. A record of my father’s family, faces I knew when I look at my own or the faces of my children.
Portraits and photos of my mother’s family, on the other hand, are a rarity. This is/was definitely a socio-economic issue. These few precious images are now the only link I have to my mother and her family, few of whom I ever had a chance to meet and know, but also see in my face, my siblings and the kids.
So, because of the abundance and because of the dearth, I find myself attracted to the those nameless faces in discarded photographs in antique shops. What story was there’s? What did their eyes see and arms hold?
I recently read an article and it said that today’s generation doesn’t want to be handed down these “antiques”, boxes of old photos, cards and letters…. Can this be? Am I an odd holdout that enjoys records, cassettes, letter writing and black and white photographs?
Somehow, in my mind, I would like to believe we will comeback to these beautiful images or sit down without the phone and listen to music on the record player, listen to stories from our past…. Sometimes I think it might just be a stretch to even consider, but each time I am privileged to photograph a wedding, a family, a couple, children, milestones… I believe I am sending those images into the future to be seen by new eyes, to be pondered.
Time is cruel.. it wrinkles our skin, turns our hair to grey, fades and yellows paper…. What of these digits and the multitudes of images, duck faces and filters? Are they immune to the cruelty of time? How many times have you lost files? I have about 6 old phones in my desk… they have photos in them… not sure how to get them out - I have 3 x 3 floppy disks tucked in the bottom draw of my desk too… I have forgotten what they have… digits… meh, not sure sure they can withstand the brutality of time.
Maybe I need to start carving in stone if I am so afraid to loose these images, these portraits, these eyes and echos from the past?
As Always, Kyra
I too go this way.
upon the waves,
the suns last rays,
I too go this way.
My walk is done
The day has gone
I too go this way.
Echos of this day,
memories to never fray.
Let every one be known and
captured moments shown..
For I too go this way...
*A weird reminder of how fast time is going… I have two sets of kids the first set pre 2000 and the "midlife crisis babies" 2008 and 2010 in the span of those 10 years - only ten years - the difference is marked. I have the first 10 years of “The Bigs” on paper - printed - they are in boxes. “The Littles”, however, are ALL digital!!!! (probably on those dead phones in my desk too)